Monthly Archives: May 2013

Apple and mixed berry pie

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The rain is pouring down outside here in Adelaide, and I must say I am feeling the cold. And there couldn’t be a better way to warm up the house then by turning on the oven. It’s time to bake……

Last weekend when I was over at my sisters for dinner she made the most amazing apple and berry pie for desert. The pastry was perfect and the apple and berry filling delish….

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So today I decided to make an apple and mixed berry pie, very much inspired by my gorgeous sister, and perfect for sweets on a cold wet Friday evening. I think we will all snuggle up on the lounge with our pie and blankets and watch a family movie…. I love Friday nights.

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This pie is so easy to make and really it took me no time at all. And it most definitely warmed up my house :-). The pastry I used for this pie, actually this pastry I use for every pie I make, is a recipe handed down from my nanna ( my nanna made the most amazing pies). The only thing I do with this recipe, is when making a savoury dish I just omit the sugar.

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I didn’t sugar my fruit mixture, as I find the fruit is sweet enough, plus there is a little sugar in pastry. But if you like your pies sweet you could add one to two tablespoons sugar

RECIPE:

  • 4 large green apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 300g pkt of mixed frozen berries
  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 250 cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tsp caster sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten

METHOD:

  1. preheat oven to 180ºC and grease a 10 inch pie plate or tart tin
  2. place sliced apples and berries into a saucepan with a Tsp of water, simmer over very low heat for 15-20 minutes or until fruit is soft, set aside to cool
  3. combine self raising flour and cornflour in a large bowl
  4. add butter to flour mix, and using thumbs and fingers rub the butter through the flour until it resembles fine bread crumbs, add sugar
  5.  mix a little water with lightly beaten eggs
  6. then add to flour- butter mix, always start off with a small amount of water as you can always add more ( I find it depends on the flour and the weather how much water I will need)
  7. mix together until it forms a dough
  8. divide pastry into 2 pieces
  9. roll the first piece of pastry out onto a floured surface, roll pastry a little larger than your pie plate. Gently lift pastry into pie plate ( I roll it around the rolling pin to do this) press in and cut off excess pastry
  10. pour in your apple and mixed berry filling
  11. roll out your second piece of pastry to make the lid, gently lift on top of the pie and press edges together, cut off excess pastry
  12. if you like the can decorate the top of your pie with the left over pastry
  13. using a sharp knife or a fork push some holes into your pastry lid, this will let out the steam
  14. combine egg with a little milk and using a pastry brush, brush over the top of the pie
  15. place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown

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Roast Pumpkin & green bean salad with balsamic dressing

Do you know what? I wasn’t going to write this post solely because I think my photo of the salad isn’t very good!!!!

And lets be honest it really isn’t that great ( if anyone wants to offer some photography advice I’m all ears). But, you know what the dish is great, it’s fresh, healthy and delicious. So I’m going to over look my photo because I want to share with you, this yummy salad.

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This is a really simple salad that you can prepare ahead of time. I made it as a side for our dinner the other night, and yesterday I mixed up the recipe a little and made it for my lunch. Instead of using parsley I used baby spinach and I added some macadamia nuts for a little bit of crunch.

I simply roasted some pumpkin, I used butternut for dinner and a Kent pumpkin for lunch and both worked perfectly.

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While the pumpkin was roasting which took about 20 minutes I top and tailed some green beans, and blanched them in boiling water.

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While the veggies were cooling I mixed together the balsamic dressing. This recipe makes quite a lot but I didn’t mind, because it’s really nice .It’s nice to have a salad dressing pre made for those times when you want something quick.

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RECIPE:

  • 800g pumpkin, peeled ,seeded and chopped into 3cm pieces
  • 2 Tsp olive oil
  • sea salt flakes
  • 350g green beans, trimmes
  • 1 bunch flat leaf continental parsley roughly chopped
  • 80ml or 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 125ml or 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 125 ml or 1/2 cup pouring cream

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line baking tray with non-stick baking paper . Place the prepared pumpkin on the prepared tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile cook beans in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 1-3 minutes or until bright green. take off heat and plunge into cold water ( that way they will keep their bright green colour). Drain and set aside to cool.
  • To make dressing whisk vinegar, mustard and garlic in a bowl until smooth. Add oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly, until well combined. Whisk in cream. Season with salt and pepper
  • combine the pumpkin, beans and parsley in a large bowl. Gently toss to combine. Transfer to a large platter and drizzle with dressing.

recipe sourced from http://www.taste.com.au ( I love this site it’s a great place to find some inspiration)

Almond BLUEBERRY and PEAR MUFFINS

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I was catching up with a friend Claudia for coffee last week, and we were talking about food like we do………………..

I love talking to Claudia about food, she has an Italian back ground and she is always telling the most wonderful stories about what her father makes, the old style Italian way, she constantly has me salivating. She has told me about so many recipes that I have put down on my to make list.

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Any how the conversation somehow turned its way into muffins and that got me all muffin-excited !!!!!!! we kept coming up with flavour combinations, ones we had made, ones we would like to make. So here it is I decided to make almond blueberry and pear, and they even tasted better then I imagined they would.

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I made little bite size ones which will be great for packing in the kids lunch boxes. But big ones would be great for an easy breakfast yum yum yum.

RECIPE:

  • 195g plain flour
  • 30g almond meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g melted butter
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 110g blueberries ( I used frozen)
  • 1 pear cored and chopped into 1/2 cm cubes
  • flakes almonds to garnish the tops of the muffins

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC
  2. Combine sifted flour, almond meal, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, salt and sugar in a bowl
  3. Add fruit and stir to combine, make a well in the centre
  4. in a separate bowl whisk together egg, milk and butter
  5. pour milk mixture in the centre of the flour mix and stir until just combined
  6. spoon into your  prepared muffin tins
  7. bake for 15-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted in centre ( bake time will vary depending on what size muffins you make

recipe sourced from crumbsfeedyourfamily.blogspot.com.au

Chocolate eclairs, Caramel eclairs, double chocolate eclairs…….etc etc

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I have been thinking for a while now that I would really like to have a go a making some chocolate eclairs. I think they are yummy and look pretty.

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I wasn’t quite sure why but I thought they would be much harder to make then they actually were. Bearing in mind that mine don’t look as perfect as those you buy in a patisserie, but they are home made and they are supposed to be humble and rustic….. well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it :-).

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I followed Adriano Zumbos recipe for choux pastry, which is delicious but also makes a lot, so I got a little carried away experimenting with different flavours. I made traditional chocolate eclairs with the vanilla creme patisserie then I made double chocolate, carmel, raspberry and chocolate (which were my favourite) and banana caramel.

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The family and everyone else I gave them to loved them, they were a massive hit and I will definitely be making them again. To quote my youngest son Alex who is eight and gorgeous ( I know I’m probably a little bit biased, but he is gorgeous 🙂 ) ” they are so amazing mummy I can feel my eyes open wide when I eat one”.

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RECIPE:

CHOUX PASTRY;

  • 300g unsalted butter chopped
  • 320g water ( I know this unusual I’ve only ever seen Adriano’s recipes ask for liquids in weight before)
  • 16g caster sugar
  • 400g milk
  • 16g salt
  • 400g plain flour, sifted
  • 612g eggs ( appox 10 eggs depending on your egg size)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 210ºC
  2. combine butter, water, sugar, milk, and salt in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil
  3. remove from heat and quickly beat in the flour with a wooden spoon
  4. return pan to heat and continue beating until mixture comes together and leaves the sides of pan, beat over low heat for another 1-2minutes to cook the flour, remove form heat and allow mixture to cool slightly
  5. transfer to an electric mixer, begin beating on medium speed to release some of the heat, gradually add eggs one at a time beating well between each addition
  6. beat mixture for several more minutes, or until thick and glossy
  7. spoon mixture (working in batches) into a piping bag with a 12-15 mm plain nozzel
  8. pipe 8cm length ropes on greased baking trays leaving room between for rising
  9. bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until firm and hollow when tapped, transfer to wire racks to cool completely

CREME PATISSIERE 

  • 1.5kg milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 375g egg yolks
  • 375g caster sugar
  • 150g cornflour
  • 150g unsalted butter

this makes a large batch so if you want to use other filings as well halve it

Method

  1. Heat milk and vanilla over medium heat until almost boiling
  2. whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornflour in a electric mixer until pale and thick
  3. gradually whisk in hot milk
  4. return mixture to the pan and whisk continuously over medium heat until custard comes to the boil
  5. boil for 1 minute
  6. transfer to a bowl cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface ( this stops a skin forming)
  7. cool to 50º then return to electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk in butter until smooth
  8. return to bowl cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool completely

CHOCOLATE CREME PATISSERIE:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn flour

Method

  1. Place milk, chocolate and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to the boil
  2. whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick
  3. add corn flour whisk to combine
  4. slowly add hot milk whisking continuously
  5. pour mixture back into pan over medium-high heat simmer while whisking continuously for 5 minutes or until pale and thick
  6. transfer to a clean bowl cover with plastic wrap pressing onto the surface, cool completely

CARAMEL CREME PATISSERIE:

  • 220g caster sugar
  • 450ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 45g cornflour
  • 60ml thickened cream

Method

  1. stir 150g sugar and 80ml water in a saucepan over medium heat-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and cook, without stirring , until dark caramel
  2. remove from heat, add milk being careful as it will spit and bubble
  3. return to heat and whisk to combine ( the caramel will be quite hard but that is ok, as it reheats it will soften and combine)
  4. whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar in electric mixer until pale and thickened, add cornflour whisk to combine
  5. strain milk, then gradually add to egg mixture, whisking continuously
  6. return to pan over medium heat whisking continuously until thick and smooth
  7. transfer to a bowl cover with plastic wrap pushing onto surface, refrigerate until chilled
  8. whisk until smooth, then fold in whipped cream

Roast Vegetable Pasta Bake

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This Pasta Bake is easy, nutritious and delicious. It’s filled with delicious veggies that not only look gorgeous but they also taste great. This was a big hit with the kids and a great way to get all your vegetables in one dish. I think that you could also add a variety of different veggies too, pumpkin would work really well as would parsnip, eggplant, brussel sprouts etc etc…… (what ever takes your fancy really).

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I love the look of all these vegetables together, and they smelt divine when they were cooking. I think these veggies on their own would also work really well as a side dish with some grilled chicken. I also think this pasta bake would be a great dish to take along to a BBQ instead of the standard potato bake.

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My kids took the left overs to school the next day for their lunch and said that they enjoyed it just as much cold as they did hot, and its a nice change from a sandwich :-).

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RECIPE:

  • 2 spanish/ red onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 2 zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 500g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into chunks
  • 2 Tsp chopped thyme
  • 6 Tsp olive oil
  • 350g penne pasta ( I used wholemeal)
  • 6 anchovies
  • 6 thin slices proscuitto
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 200g bocconcini, cut into small chunks
  • 4 Tsp cream

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC
  2. Place all vegetables and the tomatoes on a large baking tray, sprinkle with  thyme and drizzle with 2 Tsp olive oil. Toss well to combine season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes
  3. Cook pasta according to packet instructions
  4. Place anchovies, proscuitto, garlic and basil in a food processor, add remaining olive oil and process until a course paste
  5. Toss together roasted vegetables and their cooking juices, the anchovy paste and the pasta. Stir in bocconcini and cream, then pour into a large baking dish . Bake in oven for 15 minutes

Recipe adapted from http://www.taste.com.au

Flourless mini chocolate cakes

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There is no particular reason as to why I made these, except that I was at home, had the urge to bake and they are chocolate.

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Chocolatey they are, moist rich delis-ish-ness. We ate them for afternoon tea with a cup of coffee but I think that they would be amazing warmed and served with vanilla-bean ice cream YUM 🙂

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I think I might have to make another batch, and some home made vanilla-bean ice cream. Shop brought ice cream wouldn’t do this chocolatey delis-ish-ness any justice.

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RECIPE:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 160g butter chopped
  • 5 eggs, seperated
  • 11/2 cups (165g) almond meal
  • 3/4 cup (165g) sugar

CHOCOLATE GLAZE;

  • 150g chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) cream

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 170º (340ºF)
  2. Place chocolate and butter in small pan over low heat, stir unit melted and smooth
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in egg yolks, almond meal and 1/2 cup of the sugar
  4. Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixer, whisk until soft peak form, then gradually add the remaining sugar and whisk until glossy
  5. Fold egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture
  6. Spoon into 6x 1 cup lightly greased muffin tins, bake for 30 minutes of until skewer comes out clean when inserted in centre
  7. allow to cool

Chocolate glaze;

  1. Place chocolate and cream in a small pan over low heat, stirring until melted and smooth
  2. Allow to sit for 10 minutes
  3. Spread chocolate glaze over cakes with a palette knife.

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RECIPE by donna Hay

Apple & Raspberry Crumble Cake

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I’ve got a thing for Raspberries at the moment, I’m putting them in my smoothies, on my breakfast, mixed up in my yoghurt and I seem to be adding them to my cooking a lot this week like with my Raspberry & white chocolate muffins and my chocolate layer cake with raspberries. It’s not raspberry season here in Adelaide at the moment so I’m left to use frozen ones, but I think that they still work really well.

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I Made this crumble cake for dessert last night, and it was really nice, a moist cake topped with raspberries and apples and sprinkled with crumble topping. I served it with a dollop of cream but think it would be really nice with a warm egg custard, which I would of made except for the fact that I had run out of eggs :-(.

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Oh and a little confession: I had this yummy cake for breakfast this morning! Not my usual healthy breakfast, but it was just calling out to me and well it does have apple and raspberries in it so that’s healthy enough right!!!!!!!………:-).

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RECIPE:

  • 200g butter at room temperature
  • 155g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g plain flour
  • 185ml (3/4 cup) milk
  • 1 Granny smith apple, peeled, cored, thickly sliced
  • 200g fresh or frozen raspberries

CRUMBLE TOPPING;

  • 75g plain flour
  • 50g chilled butter
  • 55g brown sugar  ( I would of liked to add a 1/4 cup chopped walnuts but then my oldest son would not of been able to eat it :-), I think I will be as happy as he will be when his braces finally come off)

METHOD:

  1. preheat oven to 180º, grease and line a 20cm springform pan and place on a baking tray
  2. using electric mixer beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy
  3. add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition
  4. using a large metal spoon fold in combined  sifted flours and milk
  5. spoon into prepared pan, then add apple and raspberries on top
  6. to make crumble place flour and butter in a small bowl, and using fingertips rub until mixture resembles course bread crumbs. stir in sugar and chopped walnuts if using
  7. sprinkle topping over the apple and raspberries
  8. bake in oven for 1hour and 10 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake
  9. once cooked let sit in tin for 10minutes before transferring to a wired rack to cool
  10. serve cake at room temperature